More about our Giant Land Snail

It’s been almost 3 weeks now since we brought home our GALS. It’s a slightly long story as to how we ended up with him so I’m gonna skip that. I might do a post about caring for Giant African Land Snails when I’ve had him for longer. It would be silly to do one this early when I’m still bound to learn something new.

As I said in my previous brief post, we named him Jupiter because his shell looks a bit like the surface of the planet. Most of the time though we refer to him as Joop, Joop-Joop, or Juppa-Jup (like how I pronounce Chupa Chups, which might be erroneous).

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Cuttlefish bone for calcium.

I know that people don’t tend to think of snails as pets or otherwise appealing animals. I’ve always found them a bit cute because their eyes are on stilts, but generally, I’ve regarded them as pests due to their constant eating of anything we might try to plant in our garden (although I suspect slugs might be responsible for the bulk of that and it turns out they are really not like snails at all and are actually a bit grim, apparently their slime does not easily wash off human hands).

However, I am totally and completely in love with my snail baby. He’s still a bit smaller than the average UK garden snail, although has grown a bit since he arrived.

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Don’t worry, the dog hairs are on the carpet underneath and not in the tank. It seemed pointless to hoover before I got soil everywhere!
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So cute!

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It turns out that snails do, in fact, have personalities, and mine is cheeky. He likes to poo in the roof of his hidey hut in his tank. He likes to turn around and crawl back up my hand as I’m trying to put him back in his box. He loves cucumber and sometimes his eyes wave around in various directions while he’s eating it! I just utterly love him.

I notice that he’s gotten a bit bigger since he arrived, some new shell growth is visible. It’s stressful getting him to eat enough calcium!

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Enjoying a fish flake. He seems to prefer them dry.
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Enjoying a pond stick.

I’ve had a couple of scares where I thought he was dead in the morning, because he didn’t wake up when I opened his tank, and didn’t respond to a prod. He woke up after being splashed with warm running water (the recommended thing to do if your snail is motionless). I figured out that this happens when his tub has got too cold while I’m not there. Giant African Land Snails, as the name might suggest, need a hotter climate than the UK’s snails are used to.

Unfortunately I don’t yet have a thermostat to manage his heat mat, I have to turn it on for short bursts and switch it off again when the temperature gets high. I don’t have the spare money to get one at the moment. I am about to empty £700 of my savings (I will probably write a post about how this miracle happened, also) to pay for my wedding, after I’ve done that I can hopefully put bits and bobs of money towards anything I’m lacking for Joop.

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And then he dun’ a poop.

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The next time my Mother-in-Law comes up to visit and we go shopping, I’m going to try to look for a tub like this in The Range, which will serve as his adult tank while he continues to grow up. My mum pointed out that you can get giant tubs like that there for about £6 which is wayyyyyyyyy cheaper than online. Plus in person it should be easier to check how see-through the box is.

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Using lettuce to explore his hidey hut.
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Hanging out on the roof.
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Hanging out IN the roof.

I guess in summary, I love my snail, he’s a sweet little bugger. Snails are apparently deaf but I’m pretty sure he’s aware of the vibrations of my voice (I insist on talking to him like I talk to the dog). Also, I was sitting with him in my hand while I was watching Friends; a door slammed on TV and he zipped backwards into his shell; it was a bit baffling but also very cute.

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What a goof.

I don’t think Freya’s sure of what to make of him. Most of the time I think she’s alarmed that I’m talking into a box or at the palm of my own hand. I’ve not let her and Joop get close to each other; there’s a risk of lungworm for dogs if they touch molluscs, and while he’s hopefully not carrying anything, better safe than sorry. I also wouldn’t want him to get hurt if Freya freaked out. So, they can’t physically meet each other. But it’s going OK so far.

I’m going to clean his tub later on today, which also involves giving him a bath in his carrying box and he looks absolutely adorable.

You can learn about exotic snail care from this website. I’ll definitely be back to talk about my snail another time!

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